Gary Aitkenhead, Chief Executive, Dstl and Dr Steve Rooks, Head of Strategy, Dstl will both brief delegates at this Fireside Chat.

Evolving threats require evolving solutions: S&T collaboration and investment for future defence

Gary Aitkenhead’s briefing will include a discussion surrounding investment focusing on how companies may engage further with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl); building collaboration and developing novel techniques in order to continue to support defence around the world. He will provide examples of work within Dstl that help the UK stay ahead of its adversaries, playing a vital role in an evolving threat environment. When dealing with threat there are inevitable challenges to overcome and he will highlight those he feels of particular importance to Dstl.


16:30  Registration

17:00  Talk and Q&A

18:00  Networking reception

19:30  Close

About Gary Aitkenhead

Gary has a broad background in Technology Research & Development and Commercial leadership with a track record of revenue growth and business transformation. After achieving a first class honours degree from the University of Strathclyde in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Gary spent much of his career in the development and supply of mission-critical wireless communications solutions to public safety, industrial and transportation sectors. Gary held senior positions (Vice President) at Motorola Solutions and latterly Sepura plc for more than 20 years, covering sales, services, operations and product management. Gary’s experience includes both global and regional (Europe, Middle East and Africa) roles and profit/loss responsibility of more than $1bn. He was appointed Chief Executive of Dstl in January 2018.

Married, with three daughters, Gary lives in Hampshire. His interests include cooking, the outdoors and mountain biking.

ABOUT Dr Steve Rooks

Steve has been an employee of Dstl and its predecessors since 1992. Since January 2019 he has been Dstl’s Head of Strategy and S&T Planning, with responsibility for leading the development and implementation of Dstl’s strategic direction and coherence of S&T Planning across the organisation.

Between April 2015 and January 2019 Steve was the Capability Leader for Dstl’s Defence and Security Analysis Division. In this role he had responsibility for 600 staff spanning Dstl Analysis and Human Science capability areas. This followed two years (2013‐2015) working for Dstl’s Deputy Chief Executive where he supported the Executive team in developing improvements to strategy implementation, change management and capability review.

Between 2011 and 2013 Steve was seconded to Dstl’s Australian equivalent organisation, DST G, where he was the inaugural Executive “Chief in Residence”. The Chief in Residence initiative was implemented by the Dstl and DSTO CE and CDS to enhance strategic relationships between both organisations. During his time at DSTO Steve had the privilege of leading and supporting major change activities within DSTO. In June 2013 Steve was awarded an Australian Defence Gold Commendation by the Chief Defence Scientist for his contribution whilst on secondment.

Between 2006 and 2011 Steve was the Department Manager for Dstl’s Air and Weapons Systems Department.

Steve began his career with the Defence Research Agency (DRA) in 1992 based in Woolwich Arsenal where he was responsible for quality assurance/release to manufacture of armour for military land vehicles.